Give me sunshine every day: living in Spain is heavenly and for these 8 reasons

“I love dancing and music / Eviva España.” Who can’t croak along with Samantha’s legendary cracker? The Antwerp nightingale didn’t even have to live in Spain to see the red-and-yellow Spanish light in 1971.

We wholeheartedly agree with her. Because even if you haven’t danced since a Chiro party of your youth and your moves can at best be optimistically described as “avant-garde,” Spain still has enough to offer to never get bored.

Spanish flag in the wind

And why limit yourself to three months in the summer? Why experience the country only as a tourist? Only those who go to live in Spain discover the true charm of the country. Only when you trade in your v’s for b’s will you make the wonderful customs and lifestyle of the country your own.

España por favor! Here are 8 reasons why living in Spain is blissful:

1. The sun always shines there

Correction: almost always, at least on the southern coasts. Considering the whole year, that region has the best climate in all of Europe. The southern Costas have more than 300 days of sunshine a year and very little rain.

To give you an idea, this is the weather forecast for Brussels at the time of writing, Dec. 15.

And this is the one from Alicante at the same time.

Now you immediately know why some people say Africa begins at the Pyrenees. In any case, you should not fear a vitamin D deficiency. Or to quote Samantha again, “Give me sunshine all days!” Don’t forget that sunscreen, though.

2. The coastline is breathtaking

Gibraltar beach, Mediterranean Sea

Not that we want to denigrate our own Belgian coast, but Spain’s is different. Against our measly 65 kilometers of high-rise buildings, there are 5,000 kilometers of Spanish coastline, more than 1,500 of them along the Mediterranean.

This is first and foremost good news for beach bunnies and sunbathers. Spain has 3,000 beaches. Of these, quite a few have been awarded a blue flag, the eco-label that indicates cleanliness. More so: no other country in Europe has more Blue Flag beaches than Spain.

Whether you work on your bronzing on a cozy packed beach in a world-famous resort like Benidorm or Marbella, or prefer the search for deserted, hidden, golden gems, you are spoiled for choice. Vamos a la playa!

But it is not just sand and beach: behind the charming coast hides a wide variety of landscapes. From ancient port towns to fishing villages, from rolling mountains to desert, from the white Andalusian coastal villages to cultural cities like Valencia, Barcelona and San Sebastian, the Spanish coasts offer something for everyone.

3. The food is for licking thumbs and fingers

pan paella with seafood

Spanish cuisine should hardly be inferior to Italian. What ends up on Spanish tables every day is both delicious and healthy. And above all: infinitely diverse.

Of course, we think first and foremost of the classics. On Sunday afternoons, the male members of the family make paella, preferably in a giant pan – rice with all kinds of seafood and fish. The cold soup gazpacho and the Spanish tortilla may also ring a bell. Not to mention tapas.

But are you familiar with their northern Spanish brother, pinchos, which are pricked on a stick? Or the fabada asturiana, a bean stew from Asturias? What about the delicious iberico and serrano ham?

Best of all, you don’t even have to anxiously monitor your cholesterol levels while devouring all those goodies. The Spanish Mediterranean diet is healthy, chock-full of fresh vegetables, fish and olive oil. Does it surprise you that Spaniards have the second highest life expectancy in the world after the Japanese?

What are you saying Samatha? Spanish cuisine is a festival? Right!

4. No one is busy, busy, busy

man siesta

In Belgium, you run from one meeting to another working lunch and then you still have to go to the parent contact of your school-age children. All the while, you keep a close eye on your watch and impatiently elbow slow pedestrians aside. Don’t they know how busy, busy, busy you are?

In Spain, the rhythm is … lower, to put it diplomatically. It’s not that Spaniards are lazy, but they do things at their own pace. The important thing is that they get done. And blame them? Life expectancy (see previous point) proves that their laid-back lifestyle is paying off.

Spanish doctors often make three appointments at the same time, just to make sure at least one patient shows up. Meeting for an hour with a Spaniard is often a hopeless task. Foreigners living in Spain best make this mañana mentality their own as soon as possible. Can you feel the stress levels dropping yet? Aaaah!

And now if you will excuse us, siesta awaits.

5. Life is cheaper there than in Belgium

Spain’s cost of living is among one of the lowest in Western Europe.

Dining out with the whole family is a good reason to take out a mortgage loan in Belgium. In Spain, you pay a fraction of the price. According to Numbeo, a database that compares prices between different cities and countries, in Belgium you will pay 60 euros for a dinner for two. In Spain, that same tête-à-tête costs 35 euros.

It doesn’t stop there. A beer, a kilo of potatoes or a cab ride: all cost less in Spain. Just like jeans or an Internet package. The only price higher in Spain, according to Numbeo, is for a gym subscription. You don’t have to put up with that: you won’t need it anyway thanks to that healthy diet.

Price comparison Spain-Belgium

And oh yes, your heater should not run so often, as point number one already proved.

6. Spaniards are warm and welcoming

Spaniards in Seville

In Spain, no one is ever shy of friends. Indeed, the Spanish are a warm and hospitable people. No grumpy faces here, but loud, extroverted people with their hearts on their sleeves. Certainly those who make an effort to learn the language will make friends for life while enjoying dos – or many, many more – cervezas . Once befriended, you belong to the family. And everyone knows how important family is to a Spaniard. In other words, living in Spain certainly does not equal a hermit’s life.

Spaniards love life and enjoy the little things: their morning coffee, a long lunch with friends, fine wine. They like to eat and take their time. A hurried meal makes them deeply unhappy. Spaniards likewise know what partying is. Every village does have its own fiesta. One festival is already wackier than the other. Consider, for example, the ferias in Andalusia, the running of the bulls in Pamplona and the tomatina – aka the tomato fight – in Buñol.

7. Living in Spain is living amidst treasured culture

Alhambra in Seville

We already mentioned cuisine and fiestas, but that’s just the beginning. Spain is rife with rich culture. The Romans, the Iberians, the Moors and the French: all left their mark on the country.

We don’t need to tell you anything more about flamenco, the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and Alhambra in Seville, but had you heard of the Egyptian temple in the heart of Madrid? Or Mezquita, the great mosque/cathedral in Cordoba?

Not to mention museums: the Prado in Madrid, Guggenheim in Bilbao, the Museum of Sciences in Valencia – the list is endless. What do you want, with all these talented Spaniards, from Picasso and Dali, to Gaudi, to Cervantes and his Don Quixote.

8. Spanish wine is not inferior to French or Italian

Spanish grapes Jerez de la Frontera

Yes, yes, French and Italians like to honk that their nectar of the gods is the best in the world. A Spaniard will smile once in his fist, fill his glass once more and silently enjoy his little secret.

Although, secret? More than 1 million Spanish hectares are occupied by vines. No country does better. In terms of production, it has to beat only France and Italy. If you want to live in Spain, it is best to start training your taste buds beforehand.

Rioja in particular is loved by wine connoisseurs from around the world. Cava today is as popular, if not more popular, as French champagne or Italian prosecco. Andalusians from the region of Jerez de la Frontera have been making sherry since the time of the Phoenicians.

Then again, American writer Ernest Hemingway, a notorious boozer, liked to drink Valdepeña because of its high quality for a modest price tag. Again, the same motto applies: something for everyone.

Fancy packing up and moving to sunny Spain? Living in Spain is not just for the happy few. We are happy to give you a push.

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